Friday, October 31, 2003


As I've mentioned earlier this week, I have signed up once again to participate in National Novel Writing Month, which begins, as I type this, in 22.5 hours.

I will again be trying to write a complete start-to-finish novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days. I pulled it off last year, after all, and last year I was the chamber chick!

But for my regular readers, this promise: I will try my best to continue to post other, non-NaNoWriMo content here at LIANT.

And furthermore, I will confine my NaNoWhining to a special 30-day diary which will be posted at

The novel in progress itself will appear at

Wish me luck, everybody!

Thursday, October 30, 2003


This is the verdict of a website called The Gender Genie, which applies an algorithm developed by Moshe Koppel, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology and described recently in the science journal Nature to analyze submitted text and determine whether or not the author of same is male or female.

I submitted one blog entry (my little do about the bullriding contest at the Whistle Pig), one book review (of Umberto Eco's Baudolino from January), one news article (about Encampment's revived sawmill), and one grant proposal (for CDBG funds to help us find a replacement for Saratoga's defunct sawmill).

The Gender Genie thought the author of each passage was male.

After making a quick anatomical scan to make sure I didn't experience surprise sex-change surgery during my recent convalescence, I clicked down on the button that said what the author's actual gender was for each, and a little button popped up, informing me that the site so far has been 80% accurate and the author of each passage is "one butch chick."

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

Then to check it all out a little further, I submitted a piece from the Prairie Porn website. I know for a fact the author of same is female.

Well, she's one butch chick, too. The Genie thought she was male, also.

What's interesting is the way all of this seems to work. The site has apparently got a list of masculine and feminine keywords, and it makes its determination, by counting the occurrences of each. The more masculine keywords in the text, the more masculine the text and thus the more likely it is that the author is male, I guess.

What are these masculine and feminine keywords, pray?

See if you can guess which is which.

Set A: around, what, more, are, as, who, below, is (!), these, the (!), a (!!), at, it, many, said, above, to.

Set B: with, if, not, where, be, when, your, her, we, should, she, and, me, myself, hers, was.

Now, for a final bit of fun, I'm going to run this very text I've just written through the Gender Genie before I post it.

Hup! I'm still butch. It thought I was a man. Again.

Interesting stuff, but in the end, probably bullshit.


My first day off what I was again thinking might well have been my death bed (am I the wimpiest sick person in the world? Surely I'm a contender for the title. But at least I'm not a hypochondriac. I hate being sick. I'm using the word HATE here) and the sky stayed grey all day and I hung in the house listening to Cat Stevens (along with Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe and Ivan Neville, I categorize this as Tewksbury music; stuff I listened to for the first time my sophomore year at Beaudacious Bard College during dull sad downtimes in the giant-for-Bard cinderblock junk dorm called Tewksbury Hall) and wondered if it was going to snow.


Naturally this calls for a trip to Platte Valley Ranch Supply. The Collie of Folly was out of dog food and Erin-Go-Braless has no suitable winter coat. Or hat. Or mittens.

Braless has never been to PVRS, or, I suspect, to any feed store of any kind, though she has long loved the idea of living in a town where such an emporium is, in fact, Fashion Central.

Her awe when she stepped in to admire the boots, the animal feed, the veterinary supplies (that bottle says DMSO! Is it really DMSO? It's DMSO!), the jewelry, the pet toys, the brassieres, the leather, and, most importantly, the racks and racks of genuine Carhartt, was touching and completely understandable. While I lay recovering from the Stomach Flu From Hell, she'd been earning extra cash helping winterize folks' landscaping out in the cold, grey, almost-snowing pre-winter haze of these last few days.

Her buttt was cold. And she needed something to warm itt.

Nothing like a big ol' ranch coatt for thatt. You locals know what I'm talking aboutt.

And where, I thought as I watched her trying on various avatars of Carhartt, is the steamroller of citified style who breezed onto the porch at the Whistle Pig Saloon on the Fourth of July amidst the fireworks, resplindent with artful blond streaks in her hair and a wildly colorful poncho/tunic/cloak thing woven of spidersilk and butterfly breath?

She's buried under navy blue waterproofed canvas, a blah beige knitt hatt, a ratty-looking tan scarf and a shiver.

She looks like Nanook, sho'nuff.

I guess winter really is on the way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


Like Mark Ames, much-maligned (mostly deservedly, but still) editor of that bitchy alternative paper I like in Russia, the eXile, my basic economic ratio is fame:work, i.e., how much fame can I squeeze out of how little work?

I would appear to have squeezed out a little more, though honestly, I don't know who is going to notice, apart from a lot of bureaucrats who are sick of hearing my name already.

But, the story on Wyoming bloggers (all seven of us, according to the Globe of Blogs) finally hit the newsstands this week. The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle story can currently be read online at:

I am quoted toward the end of this rather fluffy little piece. I honestly don't recall saying that it was me who goes crazy if I don't post every day, because obviously I don't, but I didn't tape record my conversation with the reporter, so I dunno, maybe I did.

Meanwhile, the stomach bug from hell still hath its hold. Anyone want some food? I've got a kitchen full of it and can't even stand the thought, much less the sight of it, not even a little bit, not at all.

I mean, my system won't even do plain jasmine rice.


Tuesday, October 28, 2003


My health, since I left the chamber, has been outstanding, but I knew the day I got my license to be a substitute teacher that threats to same would soon be looming, so on the very first day it was possible (aside from the very first day it was available, on which day I was over hanging out with the 3rd/4th grade class at Elk Mountain Elementary) I went and got my flu shot.

The ordinary poke you in the shoulder kind, not the newfangled nasal spray kind because, well, my health insurance hasn't kicked in yet and also I'm just not quite sure I believe in anything good going up your nose.

That was last Monday.

Apparently, it was already too late.

This afternoon, Tuesday, at 17:35 MST, marks the first time in close to three days that I've been able to sit upright and type. I've been wracked with innumerable pains and indignities the likes of which I've never before experienced.

Stomach flu from hell.

I'm proud to still have the soup I ate an hour ago still inside me, put it that way. New league record.

So, as the title bar says, gee I'm glad I spent my $15 bucks to get that there shot.

Cause and effect?